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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 16th September 2019.

Minutes of the meeting of the Chedzoy Parish Council, held on Monday 16th September 2019 in the Village Hall at 7.30pm.

1. Present: Cllrs Marion Dethier, Brian Gale, Nick Griffiths, Simon Howes (Chairman), Patricia Lennard and Rodney Young.
Also present: Cllrs David Hall (Somerset County Council (SCC)), and Anthony Betty (Sedgemoor District Council SDC)), also Vanda Squire (Sedgemoor Community Agent)

In attendance: The Clerk (Chris Fry) and one member of the public.

Apologies: Cllr John Paige and Liz Perry (SDC).

2. Minutes of the previous meeting of 15th July 2019 and the special planning meeting of 12th August 2019 were taken as read, approved and signed.

3.  Matters arising from the minutes.
  •  Wessex Water pressure testing. Cllr Marion Dethier reported on her contact with Wessex Water about the poor water pressure throughout the village. She furnished the company with all the information and complaints she could gather from social media and received direct. As a result the whole village was pressure tested and there has been a subsequent marked improvement.

  • Broadband update. Cllr Simon Howes reported that Truespeed had now achieved the threshold of 30% acceptance of their services by parishioners of the individual connection to their network. The first 30% are being offered free connection.  Installation has now commenced. Simon is due to hold a meeting with David Hall on Thursday 19th September to consider alternative schemes. Simon considers competition will be advantageous. He will report back.

  • Sedgemoor Community Agent talk. Vanda Squire outlined the considerable progress since the original Village Agent scheme started at about the time of the serious flooding of the Somerset Levels a few years ago. Lottery funding enabled the scheme to start, originally with 12 part time agents. Community Agents have been introduced by CCS (Community Council for Somerset) and work alongside social services. Since then transport/caring/Macmillan/mental health agents have been introduced. Their aim is to broadly support vulnerable people and demand for their services is great and increasing.  There are now approximately 70 agents funded by various sources throughout the county. Community agents have a degree of flexibility and are not too hampered by rigid policies, and seek alternative community solutions.

    Vanda also outlined the concept of micro providers - self-employed part time DBS checked people with various talents who provide many needs from shopping to gardening and home visiting etc. As we are all well aware, loneliness is a big and increasing problem which brings with it health and self-esteem problems. It is particularly prevalent among the older population and, perhaps greater in relatively isolated rural areas such as parts of Somerset.

    The CCS website gives more information.

  • Health and Wellbeing. Again this year, each County Councillor has been given a modest pot of money (£2000 each) to distribute throughout their areas on schemes to promote the general wellbeing of local communities. In the case of Chedzoy it has been decided to apply for funding for the installation of ramps to improve wheel chair access to the village hall. Simon Howes is kindly completing the application form on behalf of the parish council, who has authorised Simon to act on its behalf.

  • Tree planting – more information. Following on from the last meeting John Paige has advised the Clerk that he has been in contact with Mr Tilling to find out more details and he will update the parish Council in due course.

  • SDC Community Safety Scheme. Following on from the last meeting the Clerk has requested a small “pdf” type file, suitable for insertion in Chedzoy News, covering topics such as illegal loan shark activities, domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation, trafficking, modern slavery and terrorism. To date he has not received one and he will follow it up.

  • Allotments. The Clerk reported that, in order to ensure 100% tenancy of the allotment field, and bearing in mind there was no one on the waiting list at the time, a plot which would otherwise have fallen vacant, was let to two existing plot holders on the understanding that they would vacate it should anyone new apply for tenancy.

    The Clerk explained that the allotment rents (6 at £30.00 = £180.00 pa) needed to cover water charges and the rent the council pays to its landlord. It would be technically illegal for the allotment running costs were subsidised by general council funds.

  • To clarify the position Marion Dethier suggested the Clerk presents a summary of the position to councillors at the next meeting.

    A new applicant for a plot has come forward and he will be offered one from Lady Day 2020.

  • New Parish Council Notice Board. Cllr John Paige has drawn up a design and cost estimate (£207.04), for the new board for the exclusive use of the council to free up space on the existing board. Location of the new board was discussed. It would obscure the bus shelter window if placed beside the existing one. Simon Howes kindly said he would liaise with John on the matter.

  • Sedgemoor Local Plan 2019. A paper copy of this document has been received from Liz Perry and is being retained by the Clerk.

  • Public Footpaths throughout the Parish. A parishioner who regularly walks the footpath network has reported the problem of a landowner ploughing up the footpath running round the edge of Northfield (behind the church) to both the landowner (Gillards Farms Ltd), and SCC. The footpath is regularly blocked by crop growth. He questions if the farmer’s employees/contractors are aware of the paths and the rules and asks that all concerned are made aware that bordering paths must not be ploughed up. Those crossing cultivated fields can be ploughed but must be restored to a minimum width of a metre within 14 days. An acknowledgement has been requested.

  • The Clerk was asked to liaise with the parishioner and, if no satisfactory response has been received, contact Gillards to add the support of the parish council in the matter.

  • On an associated matter of bridle way access, another villager presented photos supporting the fact that part of Moor Drove had broken gates which are a particular problem to horse riders trying to open or close them, and a length of string blocking the bridle way. Simon Howes said he would have a word with the occupier of the land.

    Mark Smith (our village footpath officer) is constantly reporting the many problems he becomes aware of on the footpaths, often to no avail, and he advises the following:

    "The landowner (or occupier) is responsible for the maintenance of any gate or stile on their land which is on a public right of way, whether that’s a footpath or bridleway. They have other responsibilities too regarding keeping the route clear from obstructing vegetation etc. The footpath authority, SCC, usually assists landowners financially with the cost of replacement of gates. Especially when the new gate or stile is an improvement on what was there before. Bridges carrying footpaths are SCC’s responsibility, and it is assumed this includes sleeper bridges".

4. Somerset County Council report. David Hall reported as follows:
  • Broadband. Connecting Devon and Somerset recently formally cancelled the Gigaclear contract.

  • Health and Wellbeing Grant. Already covered – see above.

  • Combwich Jetty. This is now operating and aggregates are conveyed to Avonmouth by rail and then by sea to the jetty. There should be a dramatic reduction in heavy road traffic as a result.

  •  The installation of modular buildings at enterprise centres at Wiveliscombe and Wells illustrates the underlying strength of the local economy, quite apart from Hinkley Point.

  • Winter Grit Stocks – these are high.

  • Enterprise Partnership. Two new members for the Enterprise Partnership are being recruited. This is a conduit of enterprise funding throughout the south west.

5. Sedgemoor District Council report. Anthony Betty reported as follows:
  • Fracking. A recent SDC scrutiny committee meeting considered the possible declaration of a “fracking-free” zone throughout Sedgemoor. David Hall mentioned that SCC needed to consider other aspects of this in that if they did the same, any subsequent fracking application would be taken over by Central Government as SCC would be assumed to have pre-determined the matter, with the accompanying loss of any control.

  • Fire Service. SDC were resisting the move to reduce the fire appliance cover from three to two in the town.
 5.  Planning.  No new applications received.

Update on application reference 18/19/00004/CAN. (Parchey)

This has been granted retrospective permission.

6. Correspondence. None.

7.  Matters arising from the correspondence. None.

8. Finance.

Balances after allowing for all payments due:

Lloyds Bank Current Account £3705.35
Lloyds Bank Deposit Account £2.48
Cambridge BS Easy Access £12341.19

The new Lloyds Bank mandate has been completed, and the new signing arrangements are in place.

Eight cheques were issued as follows:

Number Amount Payee For
655 £168.00 CVHA Annual Amenity Grants
656 £270.00 CPFA Annual Amenity Grants
657 £552.00 St Mary's Churchyard
658 £40.00 Oxford Rural Allotment rent
659 £152.47 Mr C.N Fry September net salary
660 £ 44.16 Mr C.N Fry Expenses
661 £250.00 Mr D Johnson Printing cost Chedzoy News
662 £114.40 HMRC PAYE July/August/September

9. Any other business, and date of the next meeting.
  • Playing Field Incident. The Clerk read an email from a parent whose child sustained a head injury by running into a bar at the entrance to the playing field. She suggests the bar is painted to make it more visible, and even offers to paint it herself. She is very appreciative and complimentary about the facility.

    The Clerk has passed the email on to the playing field committee.

  • Dr Morgan’s Grammar School for Boys. The Clerk read an email from the secretary of the 'Old Morganian’s' appealing for new members from the fairly wide area that supplied the intake. The school pre-dates the comprehensive system and therefore old boys are no spring chickens!

  • Phone kiosk library. The Clerk reported that John Paige had replaced the fluorescent light. He said that he overcame the “anti-vandalism lock” quite easily – 'due to him having had (many years ago) a miss-spent youth!'

  • Heritage Plaques. Simon Howes wondered where we were with the possible erection of these, and the Clerk said they were with one of the householders concerned, and he would chase matters up.

  • Website. Simon Howes voiced concern that some information was out of date. Agendas have not always been placed on the website, but the Clerk will ensure these are kept up to date.

  • 'Chedzoy' signs. Rodney Young asked if the signs at Parchey and Fowlers' Plot could be renewed. The Clerk said he would contact SDC Clean surroundings (the department dealing with such things) appropriately.

  • Footpath leading to the motorway bridge. It was noted that this was impassable and the Clerk was asked to ensure it is reported, if not already done.

Date of next meeting: Monday 21st October 2019 in the village hall at 7.30 pm.

There being no other business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.50 pm.     


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